Wacom Cintiq Pro - Everything you need to know
It is said that an artist doesn’t need the best tools or equipment to be good, and—while it’s true—using the right ones can surely be of help. As a part-time illustrator, keeping up to date is key. For me, it means trying different techniques and media. The birth of digital art and the subsequent addition of digital technology as part of the creative process brings me to the topic in question, which is: graphic tablets such as the Wacom Cintiq Pro.
Over the years I’ve tried many different models and brands, with mixed results. There are several things to consider when purchasing a new graphic tablet, such as the type (passive, active, optical, capacitive, even acoustic), the size, the stylus which it comes paired with, and so on. In the end, many of these things tend to be a matter of taste. But in general, one might agree that there are certain factors that are deal-breakers, like the pen accuracy and pressure sensitivity or a lag-free tracking.
Wacom is known for providing all these things and more, marketed worldwide and praised for the quality and durability of their products.
They’ve developed different models, some already discontinued—such as all Bamboo products and early Intuos—but the most acclaimed one is the Cintiq.
The Cintiq is a tablet/screen hybrid, which means it’s a graphic tablet that incorporates an LCD into the digitizing tablet itself. This allows the user to draw directly on the display surface, which makes it more comfortable than other none-screen devices where the user has to keep their eyes on the PC.
These tablets are available in several sizes, with the smaller one being 13” and the biggest reaching an astounding 32”.
Before the Cintiq, older Wacom models were criticized for the drawing surface’s roughness, which caused the small pressure-sensitive nib to wear down. The surface of the tablet tended to become smoother where it was used more, resulting in uneven slick and non-slick areas.
To avert surface or nib damage, the users had the option of placing a thin sheet of glass or acetate over the drawing surface—similar to screen protectors frequently used on phones. However, the additional thickness of the glass induces a bothersome parallax error when tracing.
Newer Cintiq Pro models get rid of this problem altogether, as the Wacom Pro Pen 2 works alongside the Cintiq to produce an experience as familiar as drawing on paper. The screen is built of durable, scratch resistant materials, and the parallax is reduced to a minimum, so the cursor appears exactly where expected.
The disadvantage of these tablets, as the reviews seem to indicate, is the difficulty of the set up process, since the drivers have some compatibility issues and the instructions are lacking.
Most agree that Cintiq Pro drivers and software don’t show the same high-quality the rest of the tablet does.
From glitching, to even stopping to work, the only way to solve this problem seems to be uninstalling and re-installing the driver, since rebooting or safe booting doesn’t fix the issue. The most recent version of the driver is missing some options in the preferences section as well, which might encourage the users to eventually find and install older versions that work better.
Other reviews agree that the “touch” option is less of a feature and more of an annoyance. It’s been said that it gets in the way and, despite turning it off, it’s very easy to activate it again on accident, since the touch button is very sensitive.
The need of at least two HDMI ports, many cables to plug it in and additional adapters has also been a point of concern. There’s an option that offers a single cable set up, but some had problems configuring it.
Other than that, the Cintiq Pro, in all its different sizes, has been praised for the built quality of the product, from the tablet to the nibs and even the pen stand.
The matte finish of the surface makes it feel closer to paper, and the way the pen glides very smoothly on it while giving just the right amount of friction helps to enhance that natural feel.
The resolution and the color accuracy has also been said to be exceptionally good, the DPI reasonable and good to work with. User have said that the display is great and solid, which ensures that the drawing experience is the best it can be.
Most agree that it’s perfect for drawing and using it as a second screen. The smaller sizes have been recommended for students, while the bigger models are more suitable for professional work,
However, given the mixed reviews, this seems to be a product that it’s better to try before purchasing, to avoid getting disappointed otherwise. This is especially important for those who have never worked with a graphic tablet or a Wacom before.
Consider that getting used to a graphic tablet takes some time. Getting to know the software is a matter of experimenting with the settings and seeing what you are comfortable with. As any other drawing tool, you need to learn how to use it, find its advantages and know what works best for you.
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